What we can learn from our friends across the sea
by Abby Eberts
The European Union is the combination of twenty-seven nations in Europe, bonding together to form an economic alliance. This bond has grown into something much larger than simply an economic one. The EU works much in the same way the American government does, providing funds, bonds, and grants to cities around Europe for regrowth. The European Union is divided has two subsets, the Eurozone and the rest of the nations. The nations in the Eurozone are the ones who use the euro as their currency. However, countries such as Great Britain that are members of the EU but do not employ the use of the euro have a bit of a unique situation. The EU is essentially a trade alliance for them, as opposed to a complete, all-encompassing economic alliance. “We would be mad to come out of it,” states Mayor George Ferugson of Bristol. “It’s really important to our future economic and social sustainability.”
Nation’s membership in the EU has a number of ramifications. Mainly, is the sense of partnership, courtiers in the EU are “encouraged” through monetary benefits to work together. On the national level, this policy is beneficial. However, on the basis of cities, this is not the best solution. Describe as, “a sort of forced partnership” by Mike Reardon of the Hesteline Institute in Great Britain, cities are required to work with one or more other cities. This policy is not bad by any means, as Reardon describes it to have, “strengthened European identity.”
However, this optimistic view is not held by all. George Evans from Liverpool, England stated how Great Britain’s membership to the EU completely decimated his city’s economy. Liverpool was a town based on trading across the Atlantic, and when the EU “encouraged” near exclusive trade with European nations Liverpool lost all of its relevancy. Trade was suddenly shifted from west to east, changing the dynamic of Liverpool. Recently, the city has been able to bounce back, but it is unlikely that it will recover from the shock.
All in all, there is a fine line with the EU. To many cities, it is extremely beneficial. However, exactly how beneficial is it to the nations that do not use the euro? This is the answer that Great Britain will provide to the rest of the world.